Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but be aware of what you're eating.
What exactly is it about breakfast that makes it so beneficial? And are all are breakfasts created equal? A study from Pediatrics, published in March 2008, looked at 2,000 teenagers and found that teens who ate breakfast weighed less, exercised more and ate healthier food than their classmates who didn't eat breakfast
Are all breakfasts created equal?
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent: No, all breakfasts are definitely not created equal. We talked to an expert at the American Dietetic Association to help us "grade" a few popular breakfast options. Let's start at the bottom with a breakfast that would get a "C" average grade: Fast food breakfast sandwich, pastry or sugary cereal.
These foods get a "C" for a number of reasons. The types of fat in these foods are the bad fats, and it certainly is not balanced. These foods are going to be high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in fiber and protein, which are essential for a balanced breakfast.
Let's flip to the foods that get a "B" average grade: bagel, breakfast bar, breakfast shake or pancakes with syrup.
These foods are a good start but aren't quite there. Take, for example, the breakfast shake: Many people blend up some milk and fruit. Although it's healthy for you, to make it a complete meal, you should add a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread.
OK, now for the winner, the "A+" breakfast: oatmeal with skim milk, a half-ounce nuts, berries and orange juice.
This is the ultimate breakfast because you've got a whole grain in the oatmeal, a protein in the skim milk, heart-healthy fats in your nuts, and the berries are a great source of antioxidants. You can wash the meal down with a nice glass of orange juice, which is loaded with vitamin C and potassium. Remember that you should be consuming a significant amount of calories at breakfast -- around 500, depending on the person. Eating a hearty breakfast will keep you full for several hours and prevent you from snacking at that morning meeting. And important to remember: If you wake up and are not hungry in the morning, it is a big indicator that you are overeating at night.
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